Dr. Harriet de Wit
Founder & Primary Investigator, Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory
Research Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Dr. de Wit obtained her PhD in Experimental Psychology from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in 1981. Since then she has been associated with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago, where she is currently Professor and Director of the Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory. In addition to her role as Principal Investigator for several NIH-funded research projects, Dr. de Wit serves as Field Editor for the journal Psychopharmacology and Deputy Editor for Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. She is a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration and serves on several scientific advisory boards at other institutions. She has received several awards for her research, including the Solvay Award for Outstanding Basic Psychopharmacological Research in Affective Disorders in 1999, and the Marian W. Fischman Memorial Lectureship Award in 2009 and the European Behavioral Pharmacology Society Distinguished Investigator Award in 2019.
Dr. de Wit's research focuses on the physiological, subjective (i.e., mood-altering) and behavioral effects of drugs in healthy human volunteers. Current projects in her laboratory include: i) investigating individual differences in responses to psychoactive drugs, ii) effects of drugs at different phases of the menstrual cycle, and iii) effects of psychedelic-type drugs such as MDMA and LSD on mood and neural function. The studies are designed to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying motivated behavior and of the processes underlying drug and alcohol use. Ultimately, we hope that studies such as these will help to identify risk factors for excessive drug use, and to predict and prevent adverse responses to drugs.